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The Schools White Paper

November 23rd, 2010 by Tim Kerr QC

The Schools White Paper is due to be published on 24 November 2010.  It has been quite heavily trailed.  On 9 November last, the Today Programme reported that Mr Gove intends to compel schools to publish data on teachers’ salaries, qualifications and sickness records, so there will be fresh regulatory obligations as well as abolition of some old ones.  The same news report attributed to the Secretary of State an intention to shorten the 86 page admissions code and to allow successful schools to expand, presumably by removing the cap on the admission number.  The concept of rewarding success with expansion is easy to understand, but the expanded schools will have to find premises for classrooms and teachers to teach the additional pupils.  On 20 November 2010 a news report suggested that Mr Gove was planning to extend teachers’ powers by giving them power to frisk pupils for mobile phones, PDAs and games consoles, and to confiscate them.  It appears that the coalition government is keen to continue the previous government’s idea of enhancing teachers’ authority over pupils by giving them quasi-police powers.  It is too early to tell whether these will improve school discipline and academic achievement.